Groundbreaking Minimum Wage Violation Ruling Paves Way for CHA Class Action Suit

Judge cites intent of FLSA, rejects Klinghoffer in paving the way for current and former Cambridge Health Alliance employees to file a class action suit.
Sept. 26, 2011 - PRLog -- Current and former employees of Cambridge Health Alliance now have an avenue for redress of their claims that they worked through meal breaks and before or after their scheduled shifts.

On August 28, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner conditionally certified these claims for collective action treatment, citing the intent of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  An in-depth article about the case, Norceide et al. v Cambridge Health Alliance, is featured on the cover of this week’s issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

“This is an important decision that shows a well-reasoned legal analysis,” said Peter F. Russell of Russell & Associates LLC (, counsel for the plaintiffs. “If an employer knows that work is being performed and it allows that work to be performed, it must pay for the work.”

The defendants’ attorneys, Mintz Levin, argued their case based on a ruling made in United States v. Klinghoffer Bros. Realty Corp., 285 F.2d 487 (2d Cir. 1960). Under what has come to be known as the “Klinghoffer Rule,” the defendants claimed that the named non-exempt plaintiffs earned at least minimum wage for their hours worked, and, as a result, they have no right of redress under federal law. Judge Gertner disagreed, writing “the Klinghoffer weekly average method ignores the plain language of the minimum wage provision and undermines the FLSA’s primary purpose of ensuring a fair wage for workers.”

On September 2, Russell filed a Second Amended Class Action Complaint on behalf of the plaintiffs and class members demanding that a jury hear and decide all issues of fact.

“This isn't just about a handful of plaintiffs anymore," Russell said. “Now that this case has been conditionally certified, all current and many former employees have the opportunity to be paid for their unpaid work time.”

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Russell & Associates LLC specializes in criminal defense, employment law, and real estate law. Combining experience and results with personal, attentive service, our team provides top-quality representation throughout Massachusetts. HQ in Needham, MA.
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